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I can feel it happening again. The tireless comparison that results after spending too much time online. The fuzzy brain as I can’t decipher what’s real from reality. The glazed eyes and sore thumb from endless, tireless, scrolling of images. The dead lifeless well of creativity – sucked dry from watching more than doing.
I get online thinking I’m going to be encouraged, inspired, and spurred on. But really. It ends in despair and deep void for what I appear to lack.
Every time I get online, a little part of me dies. The true part of me. At first it’s unnoticeable. Exciting even. Seeing what everyone is creating and starting and making and writing. What good gifts He gives to us! What talent. What passion she has!
And unnoticeable at first, the exclamations turn toward me. Wait. Where is my talent? Why am I lacking passion? Where is my remodeled kitchen, shiny new car, and well dressed toddler? Don’t I deserve all that she has?
Why doesn’t my husband adore me like hers does? Why do I live in this neighborhood and not theirs? Where are my friends who anticipate my unspoken needs and come over with coffee and macarons just when I need them? Where are my good gifts hiding?
I sound like a spoiled 8 year old child complaining that she has nothing to play with when her room is already exploding with toys.
And slowly. Quietly. It creeps in. Comparison stealing joy. Hustle robbing creativity. Envy choking contentment. Soft at first – then louder and louder until it’s deafening and I throw my phone in disgust.
Then I decide to get quiet. Go dark. Live in my reality. Touch faces and hearts and stories in the flesh surrounding me. Hide from the fast traffic that online life brings. Pull my virtual car off to the side of the road and start to walk. Decide that walking is good enough for me. Because when I’m walking, I can see the gems of goodness on the side of the road. The lost wedding ring, the silver dollar, the secrets meant just for me.
I get quiet enough to hear them whispered to my heart. He has shown me what is good. He delights in the very person that I am. My house is enough. My kids are wonderfully created just for me.
It’s so loud online. So much noise and bustle and color and energy. Inspiring for a moment. But murdering when taken in without a break.
If you are a consumer of content online – you need a break from the consumption or you’ll burst. A time to fast. Let all that you’ve seen soak in, have time to rise, and bake within the confines of your heart.
If you are a creator of content – you need a moment to realize that what you say and create doesn’t come inspired from what everyone else is doing. It comes from the quiet moments of meeting with God. Of sitting in silence. Create from rest. Create from silence. Create from the depths of who you are inside. Not what you see.
Did you know it can get so quiet around your house at different moments during the day? When our phones are off and our kids are sleeping. It’s deafening and relieving at the same time.
This Internet is a gift. A good good gift. But one that we need to learn to steward and ration.
It’s what I create in the quiet and secret places that have the most value. The endless expressions of me. The heavenly inspiration from Him. The words I write that never meet the published world. The thoughts I have that I only share with those around me.
On Wednesday, I’m going to start my yearly rhythm of staying off the Internet for the last 7 days of each month. Getting into the quiet place. Listening. Creating from silence. Resting. Remember and counting the good gifts He has given secretly and solely for me.
Come with me. Take time away from the highway of chaos and enter into the depths of the quiet country roads. See what treasures you can find. And then lets come back together – refreshed, renewed, and ready to keep on going.
It may be strange to be on the Internet while I’m inviting you to take time away from online, but it is what it is. I’m doing the last 7 days of each month – to revisit my goals and gear up for the next month. I’ll also be crafting, reading novels, and binge watching Nashville on Hulu. Mostly, though, I’ll be relishing in the quiet and connecting in a deeper way with God – without distraction and noise. You do what works for you. 7 days. 2 days. All media. Everything but email. There are no rules. Just an attempt to go slow and quiet.
I’ll be using this graphic below and the hashtag #inthequietplace to leave a standing “away message” on Wednesday on Instagram. And will post again on February 1st to share any insights or revelations I received while away. Let’s get small and quiet! Feel free to grab it and use it as well – you know, so people don’t think we dropped off the face of the earth.